What is Wet Rot?
Wet rot is a fungal infestation that is fatal to the structural integrity of timber. Left untreated, wet rot will cause timber to decay and become structurally unsound. Wet rot can affect any damp timber that is exposed and left for a significant time. Wet rot is very different from the more severe timber fungal infection dry rot. When eradicated and treated effectively, wet rot can be stopped in its tracks.
What causes Wet Rot?
Wet rot is caused when the fungus Coniophora Puteana spores in wood that has a moisture content of at least 20%. The microscopic bacteria in the air is naturally occurring. Yet it is when it lands on a moist surface such as damp that it germinates into wet rot. Wet rot does not occur in wood unless they are exposed to damp and moisture for an extensive amount of time. Even after a course of treatment, if not treated completely at the source, wet rot will germinate and spread to fresh replacement timber, starting the cycle again.
Early signs of Wet Rot
To the untrained eye, wet rot can be difficult to identify and diagnose. However, there are some early signs of wet rot that will help you identify and treat the infestation.
- Cracking of the timber. If wet rot is present, a common indicator is visible cracking and splintering of the wood.
- Musty damp smell. Most wet rot cases are in locations not easily accessible or visible in everyday situations. In this case, more often than not, people will recognise a distinct damp smell that can be described as mouldy or musty.
- Creaking floorboards. Whilst creaking floorboards may be totally normal, be aware that it may be a sign of hidden structural damage within the timber itself due to wet rot.
- The most obvious sign of wet rot will be that of outer fungal growth. However, it can often be mistaken for dry rot. Wet rot fungal growth is localised and can have an appearance similar to branch-like strands spreading out.
Treating Wet Rot
When it comes to treating wet rot, the solution may seem simple. However, it is essential that it is treated completely and correctly to stop the infestation to regerminate. The first step is to find and eradicate the source of the moisture. The infected and surrounding area will need to be allowed to dry out to prevent further decay. The rotten timber will need to be removed completely and replaced. In most cases, only minimal timber is affected and needs to be removed. The replacement wood will be treated with an anti-fungal solution to help prevent any further wet rot spores in the future. In the most severe cases, a wet rot survey may be required by a qualified specialist.
Health risks of Wet Rot
Unlike other fungal infestations, wet rot has a considerably low health risk. In extreme wet rot cases, spores may trigger respiratory problems in children, the elderly, or those with pre-existing health problems.
We here at Abbots are highly skilled experts at identifying and treating wet rot. If you think you could have wet rot in your property or have any wet rot queries, contact us for advice and a free estimate today.
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- 75+ Years In Business
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